And so, Collioure begins to thaw. Slowly, drip by tiny drip. I had to take a broom handle to the snow on my car which is parked at the top of the street in one of the very few free parking spaces in the town. In doing so I ended up looking like a snowlady and had to spend an hour in a hot bath to get the blood running again.
Bringing the car all the way from Dublin has been a bit of a mixed blessing thus far. Yes, it’s great having my favourite set of wheels in the whole world at my disposal. But…I’m afraid to take it anywhere in case I lose my parking space. I have counted 6 of these priceless spaces within walking distance of the cottage and there is a huge sense of triumph once you manage to slip into one. It’s not something you’re going to give up easily.
Apart from the snowlady incident, I haven’t left the cottage since Tuesday. The packed snow on the street had become dangerous for walkers and I am not prepared to spend the next 6 French months plastered. Although…..
This afternoon I heard some kindly soul getting to work with a shovel and blessings upon the same saint because I was finally able to get out and mingle. A baguette and a large bottle of water (€1.16, the pair) safely stowed in the shopping bag, I shared a delicious Kir Catalan with a nice Irish lady who I had met on my Tuesday evening wanderings. Yes, I know I’m supposed to be ‘immersing’ but you try going several days without talking to anyone. It doesn’t actually matter what language the next person you meet speaks – you will just unleash a torrent. At least, that’s what I did. Poor Maria listened patiently and doubtless made a mental note never again to approach a stranger carrying a Marks & Spencer’s shopping bag in search of an English-speaking voice.
Tonight she has bravely agreed to dine with me in Les Templiers. And I am determined to be the listener. It’s a bit rough on her, being in Collioure for only 3 weeks and getting snowed in for the first one but she is bearing up very well. Á demain!